An Aylesbury man has been found guilty of causing death by careless driving in connection with a landmark ‘crash for cash’ case.
Colin Lee, of York Place, was the driver of a van that fatally collided with a stationary car after four other men deliberately caused a crash in order to claim personal injury compensation. Lee, 32, was not involved in the staged collision.
Four Polish men were convicted in connection with the scam and fatality.
The incident took place at around 8.25pm on June 11, 2011, on the A40 near Denham. As part of the scam, the Polish men used a Volkswagen Passat and an Audi A3 to perform a dangerous manoeuvre and cause a collision with an unsuspecting Ford Transit Van and a Ford Fiesta. After this, a second, unplanned, collision occurred between the Renault Trafic van Lee was driving and the now stationary Fiesta. This resulted in the death of Baljinder Kaur Gill, 34, from Stanwell, near Staines.
Miss Gill’s death was Britain’s first fatality as a result of ‘crash for cash’ scam.
Sgt Jim Upton, from roads policing, said: “This was a despicable act which led to the tragic death of an innocent motorist. The actions of these men who set out to induce a collision at speed on a 70mph limit road were always likely to lead to death or serious injury.
“They were purely motivated by greed and a determination to abuse the compensation culture that is prevalent in crash for cash.
“I hope that the verdict provides the family of the victim with the sense that some justice has been done. They have been through a horrendous ordeal by the selfish actions of these men.”
At Reading Crown Court yesterday, the four other men were found guilty of various offences. Andrzej Boguslaw Skowron, 25, of Shelley Gardens, Wembley, was convicted of causing death by dangerous driving and conspiracy to commit fraud. Radoslaw Piotr Bielawski, 24, of Rosewood Avenue, Greenford was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving and conspiracy to commit fraud. He had already pleaded guilty to doing acts tending to pervert the course of justice. Jacek Kowalczyk, 32, of Fraser Road, Perivale, Greenford, was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving, conspiracy to commit fraud and doing acts tending to pervert the course of justice. Artur Okrutny, 23, of Briar Road, London, was convicted of doing acts tending to pervert the course of justice.
It is estimated had the scam come off, the financial gain would have been between £12,000 and £15,000 for whiplash to three of the men, plus whatever damage was done to the car.
Baljit Ubhey OBE, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service, described the men as a ‘ruthless gang’.
She said: “The location chosen for the staged collision created an obvious risk that an innocent motorist would be killed as a result of their greed.
“The risk that these defendants took with the lives of innocent motorists such as Miss Gill was enormous. The potential advantage to them was comparatively small.
“They selfishly placed their own financial gain over and above the life of Miss Gill.
“We hope that today’s convictions will in some way help Miss Gill’s family and friends come to terms with this tragic event. However, we acknowledge that nothing can make up for the loss felt by the family and friends of Miss Gill and our thoughts are very much with them at this difficult time.”
All the men have been bailed until February 15, when they will be sentenced at Reading Crown Court.